Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has extended its growing array of international sports sponsorships to Australia in a new deal which will see the famous Telstra Dome in Melbourne re-named from early next year as the Etihad Stadium.
The deal was announced today (Thursday) at a press conference held at the stadium attended by James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways, and Ian Collins, chief executive of the Melbourne Stadiums Limited (MSL).
The 55,000 capacity stadium, opened in 2000, is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment stadium in the Docklands precinct of Melbourne, which caters for both sporting and entertainment events.
The five-year deal is Etihad’s first major sporting sponsorship in Australia and will see the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s branding feature prominently inside and outside the stadium, including on perimeter signage and giant score boards.
Etihad’s latest sponsorship comes into effect on 1 March 2009 – the start of the Australian Football League (AFL) season - just weeks before the airline launches a non-stop, daily service to the Victorian capital.
James Hogan said: “Sport sponsorships form a major part of Etihad’s international marketing strategy. Building on the success of our existing sporting associations with the Ferrari F1 team, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club, the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, this latest deal will further strengthen our growing ties with Australia, particularly Melbourne where we will begin flying in March 2009.
“Australia is a hugely important and rapidly growing market for our airline, and this deal provides an excellent opportunity to continue building our global brand and forge close and long-lasting relationships with the Australian travelling public, many of whom we know are huge sports fans. As a Melbournian, I am particularly proud that our airline is now so closely associated with my home city.”
Ian Collins, chief executive of Melbourne Stadiums Limited, said: “This marks a new and very exciting chapter for the venue. Etihad Airways, like our company, has developed an outstanding international reputation through the delivery of first class services, and we are delighted to have them as a partner.
“Since the stadium was established in 2000, our international profile has continued to grow through the staging of many world-class sports and entertainment events, and we believe this association with Etihad Airways will assist in the continued growth of both partners.”
The Etihad Stadium is one of a growing number of high-profile sports sponsorships for the airline, and complements existing partnerships with the Ferrari F1 team, Chelsea Football Club, Harlequins Rugby Football Club, the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. Etihad is also the title sponsor of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 2009.
Etihad will commence non-stop daily services from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi from March 30 2009. Flight EY461 will depart Melbourne at 11:00pm and arrive at Abu Dhabi at 06:20am. The return flight EY460 will depart from Abu Dhabi at 10.35pm arriving in Melbourne at 07.15pm the following day. All times are local.
The airline currently flies 11 times per week to Sydney and three times per week to Brisbane, via Singapore.
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